Japan Worried about Russia’s Suspension of New START

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he gives his annual state of the nation address in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan is concerned about Russia’s decision to suspend the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with the United States, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Wednesday.

The decision is worrying as New START was expected to contribute to strategic stability between the United States and Russia and mark important progress in nuclear disarmament efforts, Matsuno told a press conference.

He made the remark in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement Tuesday that his country is suspending its participation in New START, or the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, with the United States.

To achieve a world without nuclear weapons, Japan will keep making efforts to gain cooperation from nuclear powers, Matsuno emphasized.

Also on Wednesday, Natsuo Yamaguchi, chief of Komeito, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s junior coalition partner, criticized Putin’s announcement. “The move to unilaterally suspend the treaty related to nuclear arms reduction is absolutely unacceptable,” Yamaguchi said at a party gathering.